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The fab four of fast bowling

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29th May, 2020
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The Fab Four label is often used to describe the quartet of Steve Smith, Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli.

The term was coined to indicate the batsmen who excel in all the three formats simultaneously. I made my new Fab Four of batting in my previous article due to changing performances across different formats, deciding to exclude Steve Smith.

However, there is no such thing as the Fab Four for bowlers, as it is difficult for bowlers to maintain their consistency and fitness for all three formats. Also, most fast bowlers don’t play all three formats because of the workload they have.

So with all this in mind, I am going to make my Fab Four of fast bowlers who excel in all three formats or have exceptional performances in a couple of them, especially in Test cricket, in the recent couple of years.

The list doesn’t rank any one particular player over the other and just looks at the modern greats in the bowling department.

1. Pat Cummins
30 Tests, 143 wickets at 21.82
64 ODIs, 105 wickets at 27.55
28 T20Is, 36 wickets at 19.86
Pat Cummins is the most lethal bowler in Tests that currently Australia has. He was the leading wicket-taker in 2019 Ashes with 29 wickets to his name.


2018 was a year to forget for Australia when they witnessed the sandpaper saga and banned their captain Smith and vice-captain David Warner along with Cameron Bancroft, but the bright spot was Pat Cummins.

Pat Cummins of Australia

(AAP Image/Julian Smith)

He has been in terrific form over the last two years and became Australia’s spearhead last season when he was played ahead of Mitchell Starc in the 2019 Ashes. He won the Allan Border Medal for the year 2018 for his all-round performance. Currently, Pat Cummins is ranked number one in Tests and number four in ODIs.

2. Trent Boult
67 Tests, 267 wickets at 27.65
90 ODIs, 164 wickets at 25.29
27 T20Is, 39 wickets at 21.89
The left-arm quick from New Zealand is the most lethal bowler with the new ball in his hand. He has the ability to swing the ball on both sides at high speeds.

Over the last couple of years, he maintained his fitness level as he has managed to play all three formats without any injury. Besides international cricket, he even played the full season of IPL.

Sir Richard Hadlee has rated him as one of the best new-ball bowlers to have ever played for the Kiwis. He is the spearhead of New Zealand’s bowling attack. He is currently ranked number one in ODIs and number nine in Tests.

3. Jasprit Bumrah
12 Tests, 62 wickets at 20.63
58 ODIs, 104 wickets at 25.88
45 T20Is, 59 wickets at 20.11
The exciting bowler from Gujarat is another youngster on this list who has made his name in international cricket in a short space of time. He is just four years old in international cricket and experts are beginning to consider him as one of the best bowlers of this era.

Jasprit Bumrah and Virat Kohli

(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)


His perfect yorker and slower delivery make him the best death bowler in limited-overs cricket. He has picked 104 wickets in just 58 ODIs and 62 wickets in 12 Tests including five-fors in South Africa, England and Australia.

Surprisingly, he was played ahead of regular bowlers Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the Tests against South Africa in 2018 but he proved this move right by picking 14 wickets in that series.

After that, he began dominating in Tests as well and had a crucial role in the historic series win against Australia. He is currently ranked number two in ODIs and number seven in Tests.

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4. Kagiso Rabada
43 Tests, 197 wickets at 22.95
75 ODIs, 117 wickets at 27.34
23 T20Is, 29 wickets at 24.82
After South Africa lost its spearhead Dale Steyn due to fitness issues, they have found their replacement in the form of Kagiso Rabada. With 197 wickets in just 43 Tests, he is one of the best Test bowlers at the moment.

Rabada has been destroying all batting line-ups since he made his debut back in 2015. He is remembered for restricting the best finisher MS Dhoni in the final over during his first tour to India. Besides his brutal bouncers, he has the ability to swing the ball conventionally with no compromise in line and length at about 90 miles per hour.

At just 25, he became the leading pacer of South Africa, having scalped 117 wickets in 75 ODIs at an average of 27.34. He is currently ranked number five in both Tests and ODIs.